New EPA report looks at climate change, health and the elderly

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Nursing home, assisted living costs vary widely by region, new report finds
Nursing home, assisted living costs vary widely by region, new report finds
The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday released a report on the potential health impact of climate change, specifically noting the harmful effects of rising global temperatures on the elderly.

The peer-reviewed report, titled "Analyses and Effects of Global Warming on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems," was two years in the making. It notes that 20% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65 by the year 2020. And while the EPA points out that heat-related mortality has declined over the last decade, report authors speculate that these declines are due to increasing prevalence of air-conditioning in the United States, improved healthcare and other factors. They say that heat-related deaths among the elderly can be prevented by heat-wave early warning systems urban design to reduce heat loads, and enhanced services during heat waves.

The EPA's report finds that the elderly are especially at risk from a number of global warming related occurrences. Pre-existing respiratory conditions place them at risk from high levels of CO2 and other air pollutants caused by climate change. Extreme weather can also hurt seniors' health. Global warming has been linked to increased frequency and severity of hurricanes, according to the report.

For more information on global climate change and its potential effects on all population, including the elderly, go to www.epa.gov. To view to report, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=197244.